The Aldingbourne Trust is a charity who support, care for and offer training for people with learning disabilities by developing their skills, helping them gain employment in the local community and encouraging them to lead more fulfilled, independent lives.
We have been working with the Trust for the past 4 years to help them structure a brief and develop a sustainable masterplan in collaboration with Dan Pearson Studio for their large rural site just outside of the village of Aldingbourne in West Sussex.
The aim of the project is to improve training, learning and social facilities for their clients as well as develop a framework for other uses on the site that could generate revenue to offer the charity financial security.
The brief is for several buildings:
- ‘A. Big House’ comprises a conference centre, cafe, shop and offices. The intention is that this can be hired out but also used by the Trust to hold their own events to educate the public about the work they do.
- An upgrade to the existing client facilities to provide them with far better welfare, social and learning spaces.
- A sixth form centre so that younger people with learning disabilities can also benefit from the site and gain qualifications.
- An animal petting area providing educational facilities for school parties and visiting families.
- Craft workshops, adding to the workshops already on the site.
A broad and creative consultation programme was drawn up that allowed the Trust’s clients to participate in the dialogue and contribute to the emerging design. Events saw us collectively creating charcoal drawings of special places that promoted kinship and making sunprints of local flora. A visit to the self build house of ‘Grand Designs’ Ben Law in ‘Prickly Nut Wood’ was especially memorable.